Opening Your Eyes to Sugar

Posted on December 31, 2009 by

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Jamie Lynn

Did you know that the average American consumes an astounding 2-3 pounds of sugar each week? Actually, that isn’t surprising considering that highly refined sugars are hidden everywhere; including in bread, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and frozen meals.  Sugar is often disguised by words like sucrose, dextrose, maltodextrin, and high fructose corn syrup, just to name a few.

So be advised when reading labels that if you do not see the word sugar—, look for some of these other terms. Don’t be fooled by the label “organic” when applied to sugar, because it’s still just sugar.  And anything labeled “sugar-free” is a red flag: definitely check the list of ingredients for one of sugar’s disguises (or equally toxic artificial sweetener).

Refined sugar is devoid of all nutrients. To metabolize sugar, your body must borrow nutrients from healthy cells, which causes it to deplete its own stores of vital vitamins, minerals and enzymes such as calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium.. For some people, so much calcium is used to neutralize the effects of sugar that the bones become brittle.

Your body wants to get rid of the sugar once it is ingested: it is toxic.  Your liver can only process so many toxins at one time, and when it is in overload, your body stores that excess as fat.

Sugar sets up an inflammation response in the body. This inflammation will often manifest itself as joint pain, headaches, indigestion, cold or flu symptoms. Once the system is inflamed for an extended period of time, various diseases may arise, including: cancer, diabetes, depression, migraines, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal disorders.  These diseases are not just showing up in adults, but in young children as well.

The way to avoid eating so much sugar is to heighten your awareness about the types of foods you choose to eat.  When you go to the grocery store, shop the perimeter. Here you will find fruits and veggies, meat, and dairy products.  You may need to wander through the bulk section to find whole grains.

Begin to read labels on foods you eat often–you may be surprised at what you find.  Periodically recheck labels to be sure the manufacturer has not changed the ingredients, which is a common practice.  A few years ago a friend of mine glanced at the label of a coffee creamer that used to have only 3 ingredients.  She was shocked to see that there were now more than 10 ingredients, many of which she couldn’t identify.

Kicking the sugar habit can be challenging. Take baby steps.  Within a few days you will feel better, have more energy, sleep better, think more clearly, and maybe even drop a few pounds. Your liver and the rest of your body will thank you for it.

Posted in: Food For Thought